On The Road Reply

Jack Kerouac used to say: “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue center light pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

“Je suis un vieil aventurier breton”, disait Kerouac «L’histoire c’est toi et moi et la route. » « Suis allé vite, parce que la route va vite. » or “went fast ’cause life goes fast”…Like Jack Kerouac I took some time out to travel around my immediate surroundings in France and then fly home to California to re-discover my American roots, to subscribe once again to a culture in California forever changing, and find out the many ways which I’m moving relentlessly in the same direction. Going on a road trip is a spiritual journey and allows one to delve deeper into what’s essential in life and to discard the nonessential elements which clutter our lives. The “Beat Generation” icon, Jack Kerouac expressed the American need to discover one’s roots in his modern American classic novel “On The Road”. As a Canadian American (his parents were from Quebec), he went to Brittany in France at the end of his life to satisfy his quest to uncover his roots in order to give himself more of a sense of belonging and a deeper meaning in life. For those of you who understand Canadian French, here’s an interview that he gave in 1967 for Radio Canada: This eternal search for an identity had led him to write his American classic which depicts the story of 2 people who hitchhike to California in order to discover who they are and how they fit in American society (see plot at Book Rags).

This summer as always, I hitched a flight on American Airlines (yeah…the seats are getting harder…) and discovered a State where every language is spoken, where the climate attracts hordes of vacationers, and where the culture has absorbed the steady influx of newcomers making it an Eldorado and the symbol of “American exceptionalism”. I went back to California to give sustenance to my spirit and to rekindle the western spirit which still thrives there. Among my adventures:

  • A trip across the border to Tijuana, Mexico a land which is close to my heart as it is the “madre patria” of the Californias
  • Guadalupe Valle, Baja California to taste the new vintages of wine and practice my Spanish (I guarantee that after a few sips of their wine,  my fluency improved immensely!)
  • Discovered the Sierra San Pedro Martir, the wilder cousin of the California Sierra Nevada mountains located east of Ensenada, Baja California  after reading Graham Macintosh’s story of spending 4 months in these mountains to get back to nature “Nearer My Dog To Thee”Drove along Route 66, America’s “Mother Road” or Main Street of America or better yet the Will Rogers Highway and met a lot of wanderers like myself
  • Shopped in San Diego to help the State with its revenue deficit. I discovered a unique Tequila Shop in the Old Town Section of San Diego. Tequilas from all over Mexico and very nice owner who recommended some very nice artisan type Tequilas. He wrapped my bottles so that I could bring them back to France ensuring their safe arrival! Fantastic! I didn’t lose a drop.
  • Bought a Kindle Keyboard (latest generation) and an Android Tablet (Asus Transformer Infinity) to be able to bring my library and magazines with me while traveling –love both of them!
  • Hiked the Pacific Crest Trail for a several miles after reading Cheryl Strayed’s personal account in her bestselling book “Wild” which I read on my Kindle
  • Had an wonderful and enlightening experience in the community hospital in Mammoth Mountain following an asthma attack—wonderful dedicated caregivers who literally saved my life and didn’t wait to be “paid” before assisting me in my hour of need—dispelled a few myths about the American Healthcare system;
  • Pursued my adventures in the High Sierra Nevada by hiking the John Muir trail, a yearly ritual which always rejuvenates my soul and reawakens my desire to save our environment and our precious natural heritage I met a lot of people who were hiking the trail and taking advantage of the High Sierra Camps…a kind of summer pilgrimage.
  • Drank tequila and indulged in Mexican food (see my recipe for “Pickled Peppers” on my new cooking page at Debby’s Corner)
  • Hitchhiked back to France on American Airlines with a lot of American students coming to study in France—gave them a lot of advice which I will be including in my upcoming posts!
  • Fired up my computer again which I had left at home….

After all, perhaps we are the sum of our adventures and experiences (from the Latin in “The Institutes of Justinian” Book 4: “Sumus summa perceptorum nostrorum”)? Do you agree?

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